As much as we can love multiplayer gaming, sometimes we want to go it alone. Whether we’ve been targeted by stream sniping or just want a quiet space to relax, the best single-player games can be exactly what we need.
Single-player titles let you explore at your own pace, without the hustle and bustle of others getting in your way. Most series started in the single-player space, with many evolving as platforms grew more capable and powerful. With so much to choose from, what are the best single-player games available today, and what makes them special?
To start with one of the most welcoming games ever developed, Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch is a fantastic platformer no matter your skill level. Odyssey features a new Cappy ability which lets Mario take control of various objects as he collects suns and tries to save Peach from his old nemesis.
Though it also has multiplayer support, Elden Ring is a game we have to mention when talking about the best single-player games. Featuring a huge world to explore and a vast bestiary of creatures to beat down, Elden Ring is a great jumping-in point for new players, even if some of our favorite weapons saw a nerf or two.
Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle title that combines humor, action, and a fascinating gameplay system. Though it’s now a victim of Valve’s inability to count to three, the second entry is easily still among the best single-player games more than a decade after release.
A recent hit for the PS5, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 lets Peter and Miles swing through New York on their quest to make the city safer. A beautiful game that makes simple traversal a real joy, we’re still hugely looking forward to single-player DLC for this one.
Our Metroidvania entry on this list is one we can’t get out of our heads, even years after playing it. Will of the Wisps is one of the best-looking games of all time, while also offering an extremely satisfying exploration and action loop. We can’t recommend this one enough.
Not the newest in the Zelda line, but it’s maybe the best starting point. Awaken and discover the mystery of the latest Hyrule, rescue Zelda, and brave the calamity threatening a once-peaceful land. Also, leave the Cuccos alone if you know what’s good for you.
The third entry into the famous Witcher RPG line is regarded as the best, and with good reason. This enormous game captures a sense of wonder like few others, as Geralt and Ciri fight to prevent the coming Wild Hunt. It’s got a surprisingly great Switch port too, for handheld gamers to enjoy.
You’ve seen the memes, now try the game with this entry in The Elder Scrolls series. Take to the field of Skyrim as a Dragonborn, weaponize your voice, and build your perfect hero to save the world from disaster. Skyrim is available on many systems, but we’d support it as one of the best single-player PC games thanks to its modding support.
Also known as rooty-tooty-cowboy-shooty, RDR2 is without a doubt the most involving game set in the Old West ever released. Fight with your posse for a better life in a story-driven game that looks gorgeous and keeps sucking you in.
The final in the Arkham series includes the biggest world, the most gadgets, and the greatest gameplay opportunities. Few games let you really feel like the hero you control, and Arkham Knight might be the best of them. Take down the Arkham Knight, and most important of all, don’t buy the recent Switch port.
Doom 2 turns back the clock with this 1994 smash hit. Check Doom 2 out with a modern source port to see why this game series is regarded as the father of FPS games, and why FPS games were once called Doom Clones. Rip and tear, until it is done.
Decades after the release of the original, the first chapter in the Final Fantasy 7 remake trilogy had a lot to live up to, and it delivered. This RPG sees you face down environmental destruction in the boots of an eco-terrorist as a mysterious and beautifully haired threat looms on the horizon.
Many of the most popular video games now and in the past are single-player games. Good single-player games can sell millions of copies and have their concepts adopted into the online space, as we’ve seen with classes of RPG characters in MMORPGs.
The best single-player game console depends on the series you like most. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, then you’d have to choose PlayStation. Mario or Zelda fans would find the Switch the best platform, while Halo enthusiasts would have to turn to Xbox.
The best single-player games to play alone are the ones that make you feel the happiest. Whether this means being excited and on edge or calm and relaxed, it’s a very personal choice that doesn’t have any wrong answers.
Whether you’re looking at big single-player PC games or niche solo console titles, the single-player genre will remain, but it’s also continually expanding into the multiplayer space. 1v1 games and team games in the multiplayer space are an effective way for developers to keep a project in the public eye for longer, and this is highly desirable.
The past has been full of examples of the best single-player games jumping into the multiplayer arena to extend their visibility and lifespan, and this pattern is likely to repeat. Such a move is never inherently good or bad, it depends on the purpose of the change, and the ability of the developers.
As the biggest gaming conventions have shown, the world really is big enough for both sides. As long as single-player titles aren’t stripped of what makes them special to join a homogenized multiplayer landscape, a shared space is welcome. Single-player titles will continue to succeed, and we can’t wait to see what the AAA and indie spaces deliver next.